Reports of the Pro Tour’s demise ( may) have been greatly exaggerated.
By Dan Dobbin.
Holy cerfuffle batman!
A few days ago the sage chroniclers over at surfertoday.com ran an article that all but gave the last rites to the practice of riders traipsing the globe in the pursuit of a world title.
Read here: https://www.surfertoday.com/bodyboarding/the-end-is-nigh-for-professional-competitive-bodyboarding
Entitled ” The end is nigh for professional competative bodyboarding” the piece eulogises professional international competition on the strength of the ceasesment of the World Bodyboard Championships (WBC), run by the International Surfing Association (ISA) between 2012 and 2015, and the notion that the newly formed International Bodyboarding Corporation (IBC) have failed to deliver a product in the midst of the greatest upheaval to hit the globe since world war two.
Firstly, nobody but nobody can name the winners of the WBC titles in those four years without Googling it because nobody but nobody in the bodyboarding world cares who was crowned the WBC champion.
Secondly to tip a pail of cold water over the head of the IBC and proclaimed them a failure for not being able to get anything done during an age of citizenry lockdowns, border closures, mandatory isolation periods and the biggest fiancial shock since the great depression seems like a low jab to the bollocks.
While we here at Infoamed would hardly describe ourselves as cheerleaders for the IBC yet, it would seem only fair to allow the organization some clear air in which to demonstrate what they can or can’t achieve before consigning them to the great waste paper basket of boogie administrative history.
The upcoming Gran Canaria Fronton King to be held in late October will serve as the IBC’s real coming out party, so perhaps bouquets and brickbats should be poised to be hurled until its completion and a subsequent dissection of the good, the bad and the ugly from the organization can occur.
The article also calls for bodyboarding manufacturers to in essence step forward and help save international competition by providing funding and promotion.
Now, If I’m a bodyboard company with a little extra cash in the kitty, the very last place I’m looking to sink it in a world of travel restrictions and quarantine bubbles is into funding competitions that require people to travel large distances and gather in numbers in order to compete.
While it’s true that the bodyboarding manufacturing industry has seen a mini-boom in terms of sales in the Covid era, to lay the responsiblity at the feet of board companies to fund tour events is to thoroughly misunderstand the funding model that has sustained both professional bodyboarding and surfing for the past half decade or so.
The milk and honey that used to prop up international proffesional surf contests in both sports could be found dripping from the bosoms of regional and state tourism bodies who would basically provide cash for coverage. Each event served as an extended advertorial to showcase a regions natural attractions in the hope of attract new visitors to the area around the event site.
The key consideration for assessing whether a professional world tour will be a plausible reality in the future will be the availability of these tax payer funded government hand outs in a post- Covid world.
Will they be deemed an unnecessary expenditure for debt-laden economies or a nessesary expenditure to help kick start stagnant tourism industries? Only time will tell.
Disruptive events in history often create new paradigms that fundamentally reorder expectations and practices moving into the future.
A prudent observer would concede that the current Covid influenced reality is not set to change in the short to medium term. A world tour and the crowning of a world champion in the way we have become accustomed is most likely off the menu for at least the foreseeable future, and indeed may never become a desired reality again.
One of express stated goals of the IBC when it began reads “The IBC has a primary goal of developing and supporting bodyboarding around the world and empowering regional areas to develop the sport”.
If the IBC is looking for a way to begin to cement its place within the bodyboarding world and respond to its critics, it could do worse than to begin at the bottom, reaching out to support grassroots clubs and organizations around the globe.
In this way, regardless of the plausible or implausible return of a world tour in the future it would at least be well placed to respond to and provide for the wants and needs of the workaday bodyboarder, something that every good politician knows is the key to public support and adoration.